Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) - The Year of Faith "is to strengthen the Church in Orissa, to sustain the faithful in their most urgent challenges: persecution, secularism, cultural differences and poverty", write the bishops of the State to all priests, members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in the Pastoral Letter for the Year proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI.
The signatories of the document are Msgr. Thomas Thiruthalil, Bishop of Balasore and president of the Regional Council of the Bishops Conference, Msgr. John Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar and apostolic administrator of the diocese of Rourkla, Msgr. Lucas Kerletta, Bishop of Sambalpur, Msgr. Sarat Chandra Nayak, Bishop of Berhampur.
In the letter, the bishops suggest a plan of action on three levels: regional, diocesan and parish. They urge the reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the documents of Vatican Council II and the lives of saints, also available in Oriya, the language spoken in Orissa. Catechists and staff of Catholic schools, hospitals and social centers should organize and participate in meetings, seminars and symposia.
"Each of us - the bishops write - are called to renew their commitment to communicate their experience of faith to others, [also] promoting encounters with non-believers. On our journey of faith we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who sacrificed his life on the cross and rose again for our salvation. We must imitate Mary, model of our faith. We must follow the example of the faith of the apostles, who left everything to follow Jesus, and then to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world. "
To do this, the bishops are inviting people to read and meditate on the Porta Fidei, the apostolic letter written by Benedict XVI to usher in the Year of Faith, which was also translated into Oriya.